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O-Zone: Not worth the wait

JACKSONVILLE – To whom it concerned …

Friday marked a harrowing day in our world, with the O-Zone posting (very) late in the evening due to circumstances beyond the control of those of us at jaguars.com.

To review: The jaguars.com content management system these days is maintained by folks at the league level, which means yours truly and The Supporting Cast can’t control the destiny when things go awry. (Editor’s note: John knows nothing about what anyone else does at jaguars.com, and he’s not good at explaining what he calls “all that technical stuff;” but he’s in the ballpark when he says a lot of technical stuff with the site is beyond our control locally.)

(Editor’s note: We know … weird, right?).

Anyway, when those at jaguars.com who do such things attempted to publish the O-Zone early Friday, nothing happened. Our jaguars.com team worked tirelessly to address this and was in constant contact with the league folks much of the morning and afternoon. (Editor’s note: John did little Friday except send the NFL help desk texts full of exclamation points talking about a streak and asking if they “knew who he was, damnit?”)

(Editor’s note: They don’t.)

Throughout Friday, questions flooded the inbox:

*Would the most meaningless streak in the history of streaks continue?

*Would this dead-zone day be truly dead?

*Why do people like Dane Cook?

Answers proved elusive. Seconds became minutes became hours and then … success. Friday’s O-Zone at (very) long last posted shortly after 10 p.m. Crisis averted. Order restored. Streak sustained. And while the details of Friday are too boring to share, as is our tradition when this sort of thing happens (again) we’ll spend at least part of today’s O-Zone not only answering Jaguars questions but documenting the increasingly panicked emails we received throughout the day …

And it indeed was quite a day. (Editor’s note: “Again.”)

Let’s get to it …

Josh from Jagsonville

Let me preface this question with saying, “I LOVE JALEN RAMSEY.” He will soon become the highest-paid cornerback in NFL history – and deservedly so. I’m assuming he will beat Josh Norman’s salary of $15 million by probably a couple million. That being said, from a business standpoint, why do teams renew rookie megastars contracts in the third year – especially first-rounders when the fifth-year option is available? According to Spotrac, we have Jalen in 2019 for $3.6 million. Why do teams break the bank for players such as Jalen and Colts quarterback Andrew Luck in their first contract when with the fifth-year option and franchise tag can keep them there? I guess what I’m asking is do superstars (and their agents) take into account the fourth year when negotiating a long-term deal in their second contract?

This was a pre-crisis email – and it’s a question sure to take center stage in Jaguars discussions following the 2018 season. That’s when Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey will finish his third NFL season, at which time he and the Jaguars can begin negotiating his second contract. The question of exactly when Ramsey’s contract will be negotiated and signed is tricky for precisely the reasons you cite. The Jaguars technically have Ramsey under contract through 2019 with a fifth-year first-round option for 2020. They could place the franchise tag on him for 2021 and theoretically for 2022. That’s fine in theory – and it might be the right approach if you believe Ramsey is a seven-year player for the Jaguars. If you want a player to be a core, face-of-the-franchise player for 10-to-12 years then it’s probably wise to treat him as such through the early part of his career. That’s why I believe the Jaguars will work more quickly than many expect to get a long-term extension done with Ramsey. As for your final question … they might take the fourth year into account, but the fourth year in your scenario becomes the first year of the new contract. That often is a relatively low base salary but is typically counteracted by a signing bonus that makes the eyes water.

Steve from St. Mary’s, GA

Looks like today could be the day...#streakends

Steve wrote around 1:00 p.m. This marked the beginning of Zone Panic June ’18. Steve seemed edgy, albeit prematurely so. I wasn’t worried … yet. “Still,” I thought, “I better get some rest. Just in case.” I fell asleep quickly. It’s what I do.

Josh from Pensacola, FL

I have watched film on Jags draft picks now for many years. There have been a few like James Sample, Johnathan Cyprien, Byron Leftwich and Justin Blackmon that I have missed on but if you ask my family, I’ve called most standouts. Watching the film on 2018 third-round safety Ronnie Harrison and 2018 first-round defensive lineman Taven Bryan, I see it. This in my opinion wasn’t the greatest overall draft in Jags history but if these two live up to the tape, then it’s worth it. I really think they will be solid players. Bryan powers through double teams and Harrison hits hard and is always looking for the ball. Second-round wide receiver D.J. Chark was a bad pick in Round 2 but we got two impact players from this draft. Which one do you think will have the biggest overall impact on this franchise?

This was another case of a reader ignoring the dire situation in favor of a football question. I admit I was disappointed that Chark’s seemingly bright future apparently was a mirage, but hey: what’s decided is decided. As for what will remain at the top of the Jaguars’ 2018 NFL Draft class, I expect Bryan to have the biggest overall impact. Defensive end/technique tackle typically is a more impactful position than safety and Bryan has the look of a player with enormous potential to be a better NFL player than he was in college. That’s easier said than done, but Bryan has potential to be a very good, impactful selection.

Mike from St. Mary’s, GA

No O-Zone today!??? I'm questioning my sanity. My neighbors are raiding the supermarket for food and water. The world may be coming to an end. Why, John? Why!?

Mike wrote about 2:45 p.m.; his email reflected the day’s mood. Early-afternoon calm indeed was giving way to an overriding sense that this WAS NOT going to be OK.

Scott from Jacksonville

It's getting late in the day … streak is in jeopardy.

A check of the television news revealed that the story of Zone Panic June ’18 hadn’t gone national. “Whew,” I thought. Still, I worried: I had to do something drastic, something that would matter. I turned on the television. I was surprised to see The View was still on after all these years. “Who in the hell is Meghan McClain?” I thought. I also thought, “My God, how much did Barbara Walters make on this show? That woman is a $#! genius.”

Clyde from Sanford, FL

June 29, 2018: It’s now 7:45 p.m. and still no O-Zone post by the King of All Funk. Are we truly in the Dead Zone?

Checked to see if #ZonePanic was trending on Twitter. It wasn’t. Wondered if Twitter was working. Doubted it.

Ed from Jacksonville

I'm looking for the 29 June installment of the O-Zone and it's not here. I'm not worried that you're hurt because I'm certain that the new website is preventing me from accessing the content of this site. Please, tell me I'm right and that I don't need to send you flowers in the hospital.

My mind was a frightening place. I confused Ed’s last line with the Neil Diamond/Barbra Streisand 1978 classic “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers.” I wondered why Ed thought I would bring him flowers. I wondered why Barbara Walters was spelled with three “As” when Streisand’s names was spelled with just two. The night grew cold.

Kyle from Jacksonville

No O-Zone is up today!!! Is the streak broken? Did you find out you beat Ezra and now you lost your motivation?

I knew by the use of exclamation points (!!!) that this was a critical moment. Kyle, after all, is known in these parts for poise under pressure – particularly after his role in the Great O-Zone Panic of April 2018. It was Kyle who got the sandbags to the hospital before nightfall – and who got us all Taco Bell on the harrowing first night. It was Kyle, too, who made us all realize that there was a difference between the Mild Naked Chicken Chalupa and the Triple Melt Burrito and that it wasn’t all “just a marketing gimmick” like the aged ones believed. “If Kyle cracks,” I thought to myself as I turned on my Playstation 3 to play FIFA, “what’s next? Looting? Chaos in the street?” I hit start and gave up a quick goal to Bournemouth. Damnit.

Doug from Jacksonville

The cryptic day to day seems so obvious now.

I knew immediately what Doug meant. I had ended the previous day’s O-Zone with a line about how my friend Mike Chappell from Indianapolis liked to say “We were all day to day” when a team referred to an injured player that way. Dusk approached, then passed. I fell into a fitful sleep and woke, pillow soaked. The grandfather clock in the long hallway chimed an ominous 12 times. I remembered I don’t own a grandfather clock and our hallway isn’t that long, either. The previous day’s final line didn’t seem funny anymore. “What about Kyle!!!” I thought. I knew I was serious. Three exclamation points.

Paul from Washington, D.C.

Finally. After all day clicking and re-clicking, I hit refresh and there it is: The June 29 O-Zone!!! I gotta say … it wasn’t worth the wait.

Myles Jack wasn’t down.

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